The sacroiliac joints, also known as SI joints, are located on the pelvis near to the spine and are located more inward than the hips. In fact, the SI joint is more of a buffer between the hips and spine. When damaged, these joints can cause a lot of pain, discomfort, and immobility in the lumbar spine and legs.
A sacroiliac joint steroid injection can be used for one of two reasons: to diagnose a problem and to ease pain. When used for diagnostic purposes, the injection is used to determine if the pain is coming from the SI joint or another source. If pain persists after the injection, our physicians will continue to look for alternative sources and causes of pain. However, if pain is relieved, physicians can start treatment on the SI joints. In addition, if it is already known that the sacroiliac joints are damaged, we can use a sacroiliac joint steroid injection to treat the pain.
What to Expect
The patient can expect to have the procedure done posteriorly. This means that the physician will have the patient lie on his or her stomach so the injection can go into the lower back. The patient should not expect to feel the needle because the physician will administer a numbing anesthetic. Once the area is numbed and cleaned, the physician will inject a dye into the sacroiliac joint. The dye is used because it shows up on our X-ray device called a fluoroscope. This way, physicians can use the fluoroscope to guide the injection properly into the SI joints. Finally, a solution of anesthetic and steroid medication is injected into the joint, relieving pain.
Overall, patients should expect this procedure to take about 30 minutes, but patients be required to stay longer to wait for the anesthesia to wear off.
After the Procedure
After the injection, patients are asked to refrain from strenuous activity and to consume plenty of water. We do not anticipate many side effects, but patients may feel a little sore around the lower back. Patients should keep the area clean and look for signs of infection and allergic reaction including bleeding, redness, swelling and excessive pain. Patients can expect to feel relief starting between 15 minutes after the procedure to about three days. Pain relief should last several months, but if the effects wear off, the injection can be repeated.